The Examiner U-46 News Feed
ISBE report summarizes U-46 costs by school
By Seth Hancock
Data from this year’s Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) report card showed that spending continued to rise in School District U-46 while academic results remained generally flat or declined as well as lagging behind the state.
The ISBE report, which included the first data for the new Elgin Math and Science Academy (EMSA) charter school within U-46, also included for the first time a per student spending breakdown by individual school. The annual data continues to show that the common refrains made by public officials, more money and smaller class sizes, are not proven as necessary.
The district had an average class size of 21, below the state average of 22, and total enrollment dropped from 38,764 to 38,395. U-46 had 173 total school days compared to 175 for the state average, and district students average two days of physical education a week compared to 3.7 days for the state.
U-46 spent $526.5 million last year according to the ISBE, and the district excluded $62.4 million from its per-student spending calculation.
The district received $560 million in revenue with a continued heavy reliance on state and federal funding, 41.9 percent ahead of the state’s average of 34 percent reliance, which has steadily grown year-to-year from 34 percent in 2014. The state also paid $22.4 million in pension obligations for U-46 according to the ISBE.
Per-student spending increased 6 percent in Fiscal Year 2018 from $11,946 to $12,658 which is $465 over the rate of inflation according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) inflation calculator.
The majority of district schools, 46, were designated as commendable while two received the highest designation, exemplary, and five were designated underperforming. Spending ranged widely at individual sites varying from $9,426 to $31,464.
“The school per-pupil-expenditure data can vary by school due to many factors including enrollment, students who are in gifted education, early childhood, are English language learners or students with special needs, employee medical participation, and even salary, benefit, building square footage and transportation costs,” the district’s comments in the report state.
The highest spending sites were preschools or central programs for special education or students who have been disciplined.
The Central School Program spent the $31,464 per student with the district stating the it “has specialized high-cost expenditure allocated to a low number of students” focused on “social skills, academics, and discipline.”
The District Outplacement program spent $30,940 with the district stating: “These student needs include alternative education and special education. The high-cost expenditures mainly consist of tuition and transportation.”
The Independence Preschool spends $30,519 a student, the preschool at Illinois Park Elementary School $26,821 and the U-46 More at Four Preschool $21,276.
The lowest spending site was one of the two exemplary schools, Bartlett Elementary School which spent $9,426 a student. It outperformed the state by eight points and U-46 by 18 points in the first year of the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) exam in English (46 percent meeting or exceeding expectations; 38 percent state; 28 percent district), on the IAR math portion (38 percent) it beat the state by six points (32 percent) and the district by 11 points (27 percent) and it had 60 percent proficiency in the science assessment compared to 49 percent for the state and 36 percent for U-46.
The other exemplary school was Bartlett’s Prairieview Elementary School which spent $13,081 a student and had 48 percent meeting expectations on the English, 60 percent in math and 82 percent were proficient on the science assessment.
The highest spending elementary school was Streamwood’s Sunnydale spending $13,569 with 25 percent meeting or exceeding expectations in English, 30 percent in math and it had 35 percent science proficiency.
The lowest spending middle school was Streamwood’s Tefft (23 percent meeting or exceeding in English, 19 percent math, 49 percent science proficiency) at $12,392, and Elgin’s Kimball (24 percent English, 14 percent math, 44 percent science) was the highest at $15,066.
At the high school level, South Elgin spent the least at $11,227 but outperformed its district counterparts in nearly every category. It had an average SAT score of 1,003.9 ahead of the state (994.5) and U-46 (945.6), 89.6 percent freshmen on track ahead of the state (86.6 percent) and district (84.3 percent) and 89 percent graduation rate ahead of the state (86 percent) and U-46 (83 percent). It had 26 percent proficiency on the science assessment.
Bartlett High School spent $11,686 with an average SAT score of 990.8, 91 percent graduation rate, 86.4 percent freshmen on track and 28 percent science proficiency. Elgin spent $11,780 with 895.9 SAT average score, 83.5 percent freshmen on track, 76 percent graduation rate and 14 percent science proficiency. Streamwood spent $13,054 with a 936.3 SAT average score, 86 percent graduation rate, 81.2 percent freshmen on track and 14 percent science proficiency. Larkin spent $13,728 with an 878.4 SAT average score, 78.8 percent freshmen on track, 73 percent graduation rate and 11 percent science proficiency.
EMSA spent $12,583 per students and outperformed U-46 by 20 points and the state by 15 points in IAR math (47 percent meeting or exceeding expectations), it beat U-46 by seven points but was below the state by three points in English (35 percent), it had 11 percent chronic absenteeism compered to 20 percent for U-46 and 18 percent for the state, it had 15.9 percent chronic truancy compared to 20 percent for U-46 and 13.4 percent for the state and it had an average class size of 27. It’s teachers averaged a salary of $52,177 and a 91 percent teacher attendance rate, measured by fewer than 10 absences in a school year.
U-46 teachers had an average salary of $70,019, above the state average of $67,049, and it increased $959 above the rate of inflation from the BLS calculator from $68,005 in 2018. U-46 salary’s have increased $1,540 more than inflation from $63,581 in 2015.
Teachers in U-46 had an attendance rate of 71.9 percent compared to 73.5 percent for the state, and U-46 administrators rated 98.6 percent of its staff as excellent or proficient compared to 97.2 percent for the state.